Montana Outdoors

October 7, 2015

Terrace Lake in October

Filed under: Autumn, Cabinet Mountains — Tags: , , , — montucky @ 12:59 pm

Terrace Lake

Terrace Lake

Terrace Lake

Terrace Lake

Terrace Lake

Photos were taken on October 5, 2015


  1. Where is this beautiful little lake ?? They are just awesome bodies of water.Makes me wish there was one in my back yard..


    Comment by Frances Schenck — October 7, 2015 @ 1:12 pm

    • Frances, this one would be wonderful to have in your back yard. As the crow flies, it is about 13 miles north and a little east of Thompson Falls, but it’s a ways by road and trail. Fifteen miles up the Thompson River road USFS road 519 takes off and goes up toward Fishtrap Lake. About eleven miles up that road, the West Fork of Fishtrap Creek road (goes to the left and about six miles up it is the trail head. The lake is about a mile and a half up the trail. My altimeter read 4780 ft at the trail head, 5850 at the saddle in the ridge above the lake and 5753 at the lake. The green water is gorgeous and its color comes from an algae that lives there. It is not at all harmful to the fish or wildlife and there are large Cutthroat Trout in the lake.


      Comment by montucky — October 7, 2015 @ 1:55 pm

  2. When I was younger, I would have climbed up that ledge in the right side of the photograph. Now, I can mentally limb up it while looking at your picture.


    Comment by Malcolm R. Campbell — October 7, 2015 @ 2:36 pm

    • Those ridges have gotten a lot taller since you and I were young, Malcolm.


      Comment by montucky — October 7, 2015 @ 2:41 pm

  3. That’s a beautiful lake that looks like it would be great to swim in, but not in October. I can’t get over how your mountains go right down into your lakes with no shoreline. It’s very different than here.


    Comment by New Hampshire Garden Solutions — October 7, 2015 @ 3:32 pm

    • There are a lot of lakes here in the valleys too that are probably much like the ones you are used to, but they have attracted so many people and in most cases a lot of development and I tend to stay away from them. Terrace Lake, like nearly all of the lakes that I hike to and photograph are high mountain cirque lakes (also sometimes called “tarns”), that were formed by glacial erosion. Their locations and characteristics prohibit roads being built to or even near them in most cases and the fairly steep trails that access them keep the traffic down to a small number of hikers. Usually, even horses are prohibited within a half mile or so from the lake. You typically hike up and over a rim running below the lake and then down a hundred feet or so to the lake level.


      Comment by montucky — October 7, 2015 @ 4:08 pm

  4. The mountains are breathtaking. I’d never heard of cirque lakes — or cirques, for that matter. It was interesting to read about them. And now I can brag to a friend who lives in Wales about my new word. The Welsh call your cirque “cwm” — pronounced “coom.” Those folks do make use of consonants — my friend lives in Tywyn!


    Comment by shoreacres — October 7, 2015 @ 7:18 pm

    • I’m afraid that most of the folks who live up here in the cities have never heard of cirque lakes even though they live so close to many of them, and a very low percentage of people have ever visited one. I find that very sad.


      Comment by montucky — October 7, 2015 @ 7:44 pm

      • Cirque du Soleil is visiting the city of Austin now, but that’s a different sort of cirque.


        Comment by Steve Schwartzman — October 9, 2015 @ 8:27 pm

  5. Gorgeous calendar scenery as always.


    Comment by wordsfromanneli — October 7, 2015 @ 8:39 pm

    • It’s impossible to pass up a trail that leads to a high mountain lake!


      Comment by montucky — October 7, 2015 @ 8:44 pm

  6. Any blue grouse up there?


    Comment by wordsfromanneli — October 7, 2015 @ 9:08 pm

  7. Wow, I hope you were able to sit there for a long while and take in that view. It would be hard to leave. I’ve never heard of cirque lakes either, interesting, sort of like a variation on Crater Lake?


    Comment by Candace — October 8, 2015 @ 12:18 pm

    • Yes, because I hike alone, I can spend all the time I want in a place like that, and I enjoy it to the fullest. Cirque lakes were formed by glacial activity, and I think Crater Lake is a caldera lake, created by the collapse of a volcano. We have dozens of cirque lakes around here. The other night I counted 20 that I have visited.

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by montucky — October 8, 2015 @ 8:19 pm

  8. Wow, absolutely stunning! We have tarns too, in Scotland, formed in a cirque or corrie of a mountain. Often very deep, and sometimes they have Arctic char in them.


    Comment by Jo Woolf — October 8, 2015 @ 1:38 pm

    • I’ve read about the tarns there before. I’d love to see and catch Arctic char! These have native cutthroat trout, which are beautiful fish too.

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by montucky — October 8, 2015 @ 8:20 pm

  9. Stunning!
    Can’t believe the clarity of the water.


    Comment by Vicki — October 8, 2015 @ 6:00 pm

    • The water is very clear and pure because most of these lakes are in wilderness or semi-wilderness areas where they have been relatively unaffected by the human population. And they are very cold!


      Comment by montucky — October 8, 2015 @ 8:27 pm

  10. Hi Montucky, I really enjoy seeing your photographs. Today’s is no exception. I especially like seeing the refreshing little mountain lake with the reflections. Have a wonderful weekend!


    Comment by wildlifewatcher — October 9, 2015 @ 6:29 pm

  11. What created the orange color on yonder shore?


    Comment by Steve Schwartzman — October 9, 2015 @ 8:34 pm

    • I think most of that color is from huckleberry bushes. Depending on the light conditions and the state of the leaves they will appear bright red, orange or brown. Those along a trail I was on today were mostly brown now, when just a little over a week ago they were bright red.


      Comment by montucky — October 9, 2015 @ 8:38 pm

  12. This is another favorite place of mine…a place where I’ve never been, will likely never visit, but absolutely love seeing on your blog. So incredibly beautiful. I know I’d be a frequent visitor if I lived there….as long as the weather allowed, that is. 🙂


    Comment by seekraz — October 15, 2015 @ 7:39 am

    • Rather, as long as it was accessible. 😉


      Comment by seekraz — October 15, 2015 @ 7:41 am

      • I may be back there in a couple of days. This week I’m hiking with a good friend and we have a few more hikes to do. It’s hard to stay away from there!


        Comment by montucky — October 15, 2015 @ 9:39 pm

  13. Hi Montucky,

    We love your pictures and were wondering what kind of camera setup you are using. I know you mentioned using a p&s to save weight. We hike quite a bit and want to take better pictures than our iPhone are a capable of but we’re in our 50’s and don’t want to carry any more gear than we have to! We do have some photography know-how and aren’t afraid of manual cameras but we’ve been out of the tech loop for a long time. Do you have any favorites? I’m sick of taking blind shots hoping they turn out, are there any digital view screens that work better in daylight conditions?



    Comment by David — October 18, 2015 @ 1:09 pm

    • Hi David,

      I know what you mean about carrying too much gear/weight when hiking!

      I’m far from being an expert on equipment, but I can tell you what is working pretty well for me. For quite a few years I have used a Nikon D80 and still love it, but it is heavy (8 lbs with my three lenses) and so I bought a p&s, fortunately an inexpensive one. It solved the weight problem and actually gave me quite a few decent photos, but not enough of the control I wanted , especially for depth of field. Recently I acquired a Nikon 1 J5 and am learning to use it. It is tiny and very light but gives me all of the capability of the D80 plus a whole lot of stuff I don’t care about like enhances movie modes, WiFi capability, tilting monitor, etc. It does give me what I wanted in a small camera, which is Aperture mode, Shutter mode, Program mode and Manual mode so I can have the control that I wanted. It also handles high ISO’s very nicely and seems to have a way of capturing light and dark areas in a given scene.

      So far I’m very pleased and it’s a relief to have less than a pound hanging from my pack strap instead of the heavy weights. I chose Nikon mainly because I like the Nikon D80 and while using it I developed an understanding of how their engineering folks think which makes it so much easier to learn another Nikon system. I know there are many other excellent cameras out there, I just didn’t look at them.

      As far as monitor screens that work well in bright sunlight, I really don’t know of any. The D80 monitor didn’t, and the J5 is difficult to see well on bright days. I do carry a small collapsible umbrella that sometimes helps me shade the monitor (and also shoot in the rain).

      The most recent 30 photos that I’ve posted on the blog were taken with the J5 and they have gotten me a ways up the learning curve and also given me a lot of respect for the capability of the J5. Incidentally, all of the photos in the blog are available on my Flickr site and if you click on any photo it will take you to that photo on Flickr where you can also get the EXIF data that will shoe all of the settings used for that particular shot so you can see the way the camera was set up. Being able to see the settings that the really good photographers have used for some of their photos has been very useful to me.

      I hope this helps a little!


      Comment by montucky — October 18, 2015 @ 4:57 pm

      • Thanks for taking the time to really give me some useful information! The j5 sounds like a great little camera. I will do some more research before making a final decision but your advise sure gives me a great place to start. I may have to wait until after the holidays to justify a big purchase but I will hopefully be set up for next summer in the Cabinets. Actually we start hiking the local deserts in April or May to get out of the north Idaho wet & gloom. Thanks a ton and we hope to run into you out there someday.


        Comment by David — October 18, 2015 @ 10:46 pm

  14. I love your pictures. I wished I had a lake like this close to where I live… 😦


    Comment by Adam Sall — October 21, 2015 @ 5:19 am

    • Thank you! Yes, it’s a pleasure to have reasonably close access to places like that!


      Comment by montucky — October 21, 2015 @ 7:33 am

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